Brzezinski: GOP, Post, Tea Party Are Ignorant

Carter aide also assails Obama's political weakness.

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Jimmy Carter's top national security adviser, Polish-born Zbigniew Brzezinski, expanded his assault on Americans, calling the 2012 GOP candidates, the Tea Party and even the Washington Post ignorant of foreign policy.

What's more, the blunt-speaking expert on world affairs and American politics knocked President Obama, describing him as weak and unable to push his will on Congress, creating a situation in Washington where little is getting done.

"We have this strange situation in which the party in power is kind of almost frozen in the face of this complexity and the party out of power is raving mad," said Brzezinski late Tuesday at an Atlantic Council event to herald the career of Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to former President George H.W. Bush.

In a roundtable with former Nixon aide Henry Kissinger, Scowcroft and Obama's former national security aide James Jones, Brzezinski stole the show with his analysis of why creating effective foreign policy is difficult today.

He said that without a major war to mobilize the public opinion, Washington is finding it difficult to settle on policies that have the nation's support.

And he blamed a lack of understanding and knowledge of world affairs by the public for the problems developing in foreign policy.

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"The American public is abysmally ignorant about the world, abysmally," he said, citing polling figures that half the country's students can't find New York City on a map.

He blamed schools and the media for making it worse. Schools, he said, don't teach history and geography much and "we don't have a mass media that provides a significant degree of pertinent information about the world."

For example, he said that "TV evening news has gone down hill," and now does very few national and international stories. Newspapers, he added, have gotten worse. He even took a shot at the Washington Post, saying, "even our leading newspaper in this city for a variety of...reasons has become increasingly a very local paper rather than a world paper."

So, he said, "we have a public, which on a variety of issues, shows stunning ignorance."

His biting criticism didn't end there. He said that the GOP candidates have also played dumb on world affairs to pander to a Republican constituency that is "thoroughly uninformed" about foreign policy. "I suspect most of them know better. They knew what they had to appeal to, which is a common denominator, so I think that is very much the problem today," he added.

[See photos of the GOP candidates.]

Brzezinski, who has in the past rapped the nation's lack of attention to the importance of foreign affairs, also took a shot at the Tea Party, joining other Democrats in calling it extremist. "The concept of the Tea Party is kind of historically weird, and it gives you a sense of some extreme," he said at the roundtable.

The assault didn't end with Republicans. He also singled out Obama. "He doesn't have what, for example Lyndon Johnson had, which is a kind of practical political determination to twist arms, use pressure, even intimidation, to get political deals," said Brzezinski.

Even building security guards got the Brzezinski treatment. Mocking how Washington's office buildings are sometimes harder to get into than major landmarks like the Kennedy Center, Brzezinski said that he's fed up with having his identification checked by rent-a-cops at downtown offices.

"You can't go into any building on K Street without being stopped by someone who pretends to be a security guard," he said. "I've gotten so tired of that and so irritated by it," he added. "I sometimes sign, when I'm asked my name, literally, I sign 'Osama bin Laden.' I have never once been stopped."

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